Road Safety Week – Speed Down, Save Lives

By   /  21/11/2017  /  Comments Off on Road Safety Week – Speed Down, Save Lives

We all lead busy lives, yet slowing down on our roads has never been more important. November’s National Road Safety week from 20 to 26 November focusses on speed  –  “Speed Down Save Lives”.

This year’s campaign highlights the dangers of speed, how it stops communities being enjoyable places for children and families to walk, talk and play and that 20mph is the only safe speed in urban areas used by pedestrians and cyclists

Brighton & Hove has a number of 20mph areas and the reason is clear. Drivers and passengers in modern cars wearing seatbelts are unlikely to be seriously injured in a crash at around 30mph due to protective systems on the vehicles.  However a vehicle at 30mph is very likely to cause a serious or fatal injury to a child or adult pedestrian or cyclist.

Humans make mistakes – whoever we are and however we use the roads. If a child steps out from between parked cars, it is a driver’s speed that will determine whether they can stop in time and, if they can’t stop, how hard they will hit.

20mph limits give drivers more time to react and is a speed much less likely to seriously hurt or kill if the vehicle hits someone.

The stopping distance of a vehicle changes dramatically depending on the speed.  As well as the stopping time once the driver hits the brakes, the time taken to react and think to apply the brakes has to be included as well.  Children at St Bernadette’s Primary School in Brighton illustrated this to drivers last year on a road they have to cross to get to their swimming lessons.  They showed them the difference in stopping distance between 20mph and 30mph.

Safety in Action events for students as they prepared to transfer to secondary school also took up the theme across Sussex showing how it is difficult to judge speed, especially for children.  Children have difficulty judging speed or distance until they are at least eight years old. The council has lots of advice on the website about teaching children road safety skills.

As a parent or carer you play a vital role in educating children to cross roads safely and some schools also offer training with the council’s support – see for more information.

The lower limit of 20pmh has been in place on many of Sussex’s roads for a while now and  has led to a welcome reduction in speeds. It’s important this trend continues as families and young children take more exercise and walk to school or nursery for example. And more people walking and cycling means less traffic which makes a better environment for all.

Drivers getting a speeding conviction have been found to be twice as likely to be involved in a reportable collision as drivers without.  If you see speeding or antisocial driving you can report it on the Sussex Police website here:

As well as lowering speeds it is also important to focus on the road when driving and when crossing. The biggest number of collisions is caused by failure to look properly. Most happen at junctions.

School drop-offs can be fraught with distractions and temptation to use mobile phones or put on headphones to listen to mobile devices. The advice is if you have to use your phone, stop in a safe place to do. Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal but even hands-free kits, which are legal, can still be a significant distraction in the car. If you have to drive to school, park away from the school entrance to lessen congestion around the school buildings and help provide a safer environment.

Finally, be safe in the dark mornings and evenings this winter by making sure you can be seen. Be aware that even coloured clothing fades to grey in the dark and will not be seen easily by drivers. So, dust of the hi-vis jackets put lights on bikes (and check they work) and watch out for others who may not be dressed to be visible.

Roads are a key part of the infrastructure allowing us to enjoy our lives.  However they are one of the places where we are most at risk of hurting ourselves or others.  A slower speed gives more chance to react to the unexpected.  Making sure you are not distracted when active on the roads – however you use them – gives you the best chance to lessen risks and being seen in the winter months will help others look out for you.

Brake Road Safety charity runs the National Road Safety week. Check it out on to see how you / your organisation can be involved.

Find the latest at our local Facebook page:  Share the Roads, Brighton & Hove

Share the Roads, Share the Responsibility.